Master of Music in Composition

Two-Year Program

Program Overview

The conservatory’s composition master’s program offers experienced student composers the comprehensive training and live performance opportunities needed to develop their individual voices and refine their composition styles. The program is unique in the number of opportunities students have to collaborate with fellow artists and hear their works performed live—in a given year, there are 36 scheduled concerts that exclusively premiere student compositions.

Supported by a diverse faculty of esteemed composers, students are encouraged to experiment with writing in a variety of styles for various mediums, such as orchestral, electronic, film, and radio. The exploration of different genres and aesthetics throughout the program helps students refine their own music sensibilities and how to best articulate them in their compositions. Enriching this work is the conservatory’s multidisciplinary environment and prime location in the city of Boston, which provides composers with endless inspiration and an abundance of opportunities to work with local singers, dancers, actors, and instrumentalists.

What It Takes to Succeed

Students in the conservatory’s graduate composition program are inspired by a variety of musical styles and genres, and are open to exploration of new and emerging compositional mediums. They challenge themselves to be analytical thinkers and inventive composers, and to create works that speak to today’s audiences.

Core Curriculum

In their first year, graduate composition students expand on their artistic skills and compositional techniques, while continuing to build their knowledge of music history and styles, piano proficiency, and technique. They participate in weekly composition seminar classes where they explore a variety of professional and artistic topics relating to composition. Students receive weekly composition lessons with their private teacher, in which they are challenged to think creatively and to explore and shape their compositional voice.

In the second year, students participate in conservatory ensembles and continue their academic studies in music history and analytical elective topics. The capstone projects include the graduate thesis, which is a substantial work demonstrating their command of musical materials and instrumentation, as well as a degree recital, which showcases a selection of their original compositions for a public audience. For their degree recital, students are responsible for coordinating with their fellow student instrumentalists and vocalists to produce a program of music that showcases their unique skills and abilities.

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Your Future

Your Boston Conservatory education prepares you to work at the highest level with large and small ensembles and solo performers, collaborating on commissioned pieces, concert series, and interdisciplinary works.

How to apply